Current Affairs Miloš Zeman sworn in as Czech president
Miloš Zeman has become Czech president after being sworn into office at a ceremony at Prague Castle on Friday morning. In January, Mr Zeman won the country’s first direct presidential election. In his inaugural speech, the new president outlined the priorities of his presidency, and pledged to become a mediator on the Czech political scene.
The Vladislav Hall of Prague Castle on Friday morning hosted the inauguration ceremony of the first directly-elected Czech president, Miloš Zeman. Deputies, senators, government ministers, members of the diplomatic corps, clergymen and other distinguished guests looked on as the 68-year-old Miloš Zeman, accompanied by his wife and daughter, proceeded to take the presidential oath.
In his inaugural speech, the new president outlined some of the tasks he would like to pursue during his five-year term. Mr Zeman said he first of all wanted to bring calm to the Czech political scene and become a mediator of conflicting interests. He also expressed an intention to support all those whose work benefits the society, and move against those he called “islands of negative deviation”. These include, in the president’s opinion, neo-Nazi groups as well as economic criminals. Mr Zeman said he would push for new legislation that would curb corruption and economic crime.
“My deep and long-term conviction is that the most important tool in fighting these economic mafias is a law on property declarations including the possibility to confiscate property that has been acquired illegally.”
Miloš Zeman, a veteran on the Czech political scene who served as Social Democrat prime minister in the past, is known for his frequent and earthy attacks on the media. In his speech on Friday, he made clear the fight would continue – to a round of applause from the assembly.
“Another island of negative deviation is in my opinion a substantial part of the Czech media – that part which focuses on brainwashing, on media massage, and on manipulating the public opinion. That part whose representatives combine a striking lack of knowledge and a great deal of self-confidence.”
After delivering his address, President Miloš Zeman reviewed Czech Army troops at a Prague Castle courtyard before paying respects to the remains of St Wenceslas, the Czech national saint in St Vitus Cathedral. On his way there, the president was greeted by a crowd of several hundred supporters. One of them was 23-year-old David Herzina who arrived from Karviná.
“We all liked the inaugural speech; I think it was different from what we heard in the past. I think the president should be active, should attend parliament sessions, and pay more attention to the way the country is run. That could bring about change.”
68 year-old Václav Štulík from Jablonec agrees Miloš Zeman should play an active role in shaping the country’s future.
“I noticed this was probably the first inaugural speech interrupted by applause. He made specific points, no phrases. As far as his role – I think he should focus on what he understands best which is the economy. I know the president does not have much power but if he is really an active president, he will find ways of getting things done.”
The official part of the inauguration ceremony ended with Miloš Zeman and Václav Klaus laying a wreath at the statue of Czechoslovakia’s first president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. The festivities concluded with a lunch the new president hosted for top Czech officials and other guests.